Facility Requirements

Inventory Reporting
Chemicals that are classified as an EHS are reportable at lower levels. Certain Threshold Planning Quantities (TPQ's) are established that are below 55 gallons or 500 pounds. Facilities must notify the LEPC and SERC immediately by letter that an EHS is in their inventory, as well as the name of a facility representative to assist in planning needs.

The facility must provide Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) to the SERC and LEPC for each reported chemical in inventory. The MSDS is a chemical or product specific form that details the risks associated with the chemical. A MSDS will describe the chemical, how it will react in fires or with other chemicals, how it affects humans and what first aid measures should be used. The MSDS will also provide protective clothing information and emergency numbers to obtain information from the manufacturers. All of this information is vital for planning and emergency response.
Facility Requirements

Trade Secrets

Chemicals considered trade secret are protected under EPCRA to prevent company secrets from being stolen. Emergency responders and health care providers still have the right to request certain information on the effects and protective actions needed during a release of that product. The chemical specific information may not be revealed, but it is against the law to withhold emergency response information from a medical professional.

Reporting Releases

When a facility has had an accidental release that threatens or goes into the environment, they may have to report the release to specific agencies. In Harford County the law requires that the Emergency Services must be notified immediately upon the release of any amount of hazardous materials into the environment. The emergency number 9-1-1 should be used for this purpose.

State Requirement

The State of Maryland also requires notification to the Maryland Department of the Environment within two hours of the release at 410-974-3551. If any chemical, to include petroleum, enters a waterway or storm drain they must be reported.

Federal Requirement

On the federal level, the release is reportable if it enters a waterway or when the predetermined Reportable Quantity (RQ) has been reached. The RQ for an EHS may be as small as 1 pound, while others are much higher. If the release requires Federal reporting, you must notify the National Response Center at 800-424-8802.

Information Needed

During any notification the caller will need to provide certain information. Have the following information available to assure no delay during notification:

  1. Name of the facility
  2. Address where the release is occurring
  3. The caller's name
  4. What is the product being released
  5. How long has the release been occurring
  6. Phone number
  7. Health effects associated with the product
  8. Did the release enter a waterway
  9. What has been done to stop the release

In most cases, notification to the local authorities will result in some type of emergency response. This can range from a full scale Hazardous Materials (Hazmat) response for large incidents to a smaller response of a local official for a small release that can be quickly contained.

Proper planning and training for facility employees on emergency procedures will reduce the response time to an incident and reduce clean up costs. Making sure that employees know the proper notifications to make will reduce the chance of large fines and imprisonment for facility officials. Fines can be up to $27,500 per incident, per reporting point for each day notification is not completed.

Written Reports

After a reportable release has occurred the facility may be required to file a written report to the SERC and LEPC. These reports are known as 304 reports and detail the questions asked in the initial notification. The facility will also have to expand the report to include what clean-up methods were used and what the facility has done to assure that this type of incident will not occur again. These reports are maintained for public information and can be obtained through the State Emergency Response Commission at the Community Right to Know Section of Maryland Department of the Environment 410-537-4120 or the Local Emergency Planning Committee 410-638-4900.

Harford County Hazmat Law

In Harford County there is a specific hazardous material law. This law requires the immediate notification to Emergency Services for any spill of a chemical, including petroleum, that threatens or enters the environment. The 9-1-1 emergency number should be used for this purpose. Any citizen who sees an environmental crime or hazard taking place should call 9-1-1 immediately. Fines for non-compliance in Harford County are up to $1,000 per incident, per day of the release. Criminal penalties can be applied to the party responsible for non-compliance to this regulation.

How the LEPC Can Help the Reporting Facility

The Harford County LEPC provides free EPCRA compliance assistance to any business that needs help with its reporting requirements. Contact the Harford County Emergency Services at 410-638-4900 or email your request to set up an appointment with the SARA Title III Coordinator or the Environmental Enforcement Officer. They will visit the site and review the reporting requirements, if any, that the facility must complete. After the reporting requirements are known they will help the facility by providing a Tier II form (PDF) and training on how to complete the forms properly. They can also provide administrative assistance to assure the forms are filled out properly and mailed to the correct reporting locations. This is a free service provided by Harford County Government.

You may download a copy of the Right-To-Know, a Guide for Business (PDF) from here. The Harford County LEPC maintains that assisting the facility with compliance is the best policy to assure a balance between the community, business and emergency responders. If a problem is found that places the facility in violation, the LEPC will work with that facility to achieve compliance.

Additional Information

For your convenience the EPA has provided the following documentation from their website: Chemicals in Your Community - A Guide to the Emergency Planning Community Right-to-Know Act.